Mild spring garlic and nutty browned butter add to the earthy flavor of this aromatic polenta. It makes a wonderful accompaniment to Roast Carneros Squab with Pressed Sherry Jus.
Spring Garlic Grist Mill Polenta
- 1-1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth
- 1-1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 heads spring or green garlic, coarsely chopped (substitute white portion of 1 medium leek and 1/4 bulb of elephant garlic if spring or green garlic is out of season)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 lemon verbena leaves (optional)
- 3/4 cup medium-ground polenta or cornmeal
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 Tbs. butter, at room temperature
- 2 Tbs. chopped chives
- Combine the stock, milk, garlic, thyme, and lemon verbena (if using) in a 3-quart saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the plastic wrap. Strain the mixture through a medium-mesh strainer back into the saucepan, pressing on the garlic with the back of a spoon. Discard the solids. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the polenta in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly. When all the polenta has been added, lower the heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally to prevent sticking, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thick and creamy, with a texture that’s slightly rough but not gritty (cooking time may vary depending on the coarseness of the polenta).
- Season the polenta to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and keep the polenta warm by pressing a piece of lightly buttered parchment or wax paper directly on the surface of the polenta.
- Just before serving, cook the butter in a small saucepan until the milk solids are golden brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir the brown butter, including the milk solids, into the polenta along with the chives and serve.